It's a hobby, not homework
Sharing our work should be a joy, not a chore
Pop into any knitting group on Facebook and join me in playing a little game of what I like to refer to as the PPI - the Pattern Please Index.
It’s the number of posts you have to scroll through before you come across the ubiquitous ‘pattern please’ comment, sometimes without the please. In some groups the number is depressingly low, often in single figures. In other groups, including my own I’m pleased to say that the PPI is much higher.
Partly this is due to my relentless insistence over the years that people should feel free to share photos of their work just for the joy of sharing. Sharing our work not only makes us feel good, but it spreads that joy to others. Show me a knitter who doesn’t like starting their day with a good scroll through some wonderful, colourful woolly goodness.
I firmly believe that putting conditions on how people choose to show up and share their work is a real barrier to some and I’m determined that my own group doesn’t fall prey to it.
This post was prompted by a comment I saw in one group from someone who wanted to know ‘Why do some people share their work without giving details? Are they just fishing for compliments” - I’ve quoted their question word for word as, even now it still leaves me slightly open mouthed.
First of all my response would be “Because it’s a hobby, not homework”. The days of show and tell are long behind us, and sharing project details whilst nice is by no means essential or required. In any event, in a large multi-national group the yarns used by a knitter in one country are unlikely to be easily available to a knitter in another.
But apart from that, what on earth is wrong with us inviting a compliment or two on our work? Heck, if I’ve spent upwards of 100 hours painstakingly working away on a fair-isle sweater or a bed-sized blanket you’d better believe I’m looking for compliments - all of them - as many as possible please.
Whilst it’s easy to dismiss comments like this I think it is very telling that even when posting a photo of a finished scarf, as women there is still a societal expectation that we should be doing so in service to others. That the act of sharing something is less important than the fact that it’s helpful to others.
Sharing our work is a validation of all the hard work we’ve put into something, and having others comment positively on that work is further reinforcement of a job well done. Nothing is more dispiriting than sharing something you’ve put your heart and soul into, only have someone pop up with a ‘pattern please’ comment.
Because I have a slightly dry sense of humour I couldn’t resist designing a shawl called the Pattern Please Shawl (shortened to The PPS) for just this occasion. Yes, I know I’m easily amused but I do enjoy the confusion that arises when someone shares a photo of their PPS in the group and lands a ‘pattern please’ query. They can simply reply ‘Yes, it is’.
Such fun - to quote the lovely Miranda Hart
If you’d like a free copy of my PPS pattern, I am offering it as a ‘thank you for being here’ gift to members of my paid Everyday Knitter community here on Substack.
If you aren’t sure about the benefits of subscribing you are very welcome to take advantage of the 7 day free trial. You can download the pattern and cancel your subscription straight away if you wish, although naturally I hope that you’ll stick around a little to explore some of my community benefits while you are here.
Similarly, if you know of a friend who would like a copy of the shawl pattern, please feel free to share the link below with them and help spread the good word.
EDIT: Curses - in adding the paywall I accidentally turned off comments to all but paid subscribers. This was not my intention and I apologise - Substack is still very much a learning curve. I’ve created a chat thread instead where you can leave comments and thoughts and we can chat about this issue in general. Please use this link to view and participate in the chat:
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